Nick Ybarra loves the North Dakota Badlands, he invents ways to share it with others: snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, winter camping, and his favorite –fat bike racing. “I’m addicted to the (Maah Daah Hey) trail. I’m on it at least once a week,” Ybarra said.
On this day, he’s enjoying the trail with a dozen others on snowshoes – and two dogs without snowshoes.
Using the Maah Daah Hey trail on snowshoes is a family affair — even those who have yet to try it on their own are introduced to the adventure.
First-time snowshoer, Heidi Carns dressed for the weather and donned the snowshoes with her husband Rick. In warmer weather, the pair rides the trail on bikes. She said, “The beauty is unreal. Everyone should enjoy the Badlands.”
Once the group started out, Ybarra led the way, setting the pace for the short 2-mile loop on the Long X and Maah Daah Hey trails. For some on the hike, once around was not enough, and they repeated the loop a couple of times.
That’s good for Ybarra because the snowshoeing is packing the trail for the next week’s fat bike race. The packed snow will give the fat bikes a good surface to race around the course as many times as they can in a day. It’s called the Poco Rio Frio.
As advertised, the POCO RÍO FRÍO… FREE, FREE, FREE-OH! Fatbike. Snowshoe. Ski. Sunrise to sunset. 8am – 6pm. Beautiful 3.5 mile groomed single track loop made up of the Maah Daah Hey Trail, Long X Trail & a “POCO RÍO FRÍO” or “COLD LITTLE RIVER.” Do as many laps as you care to. Winner gets bragging rights. BYOE. (Bring Your Own Everything). REQUIRED: everyone must have their own gear, food, drinks, and warmth… start your vehicle, build an igloo, bring an ice-fishing house, bring firewood…. whatever it takes to keep yourself warm & safe is 100% up to you. HQ will have free unlimited water & keep track of your laps. Story to come next week.
Or if you’re like me…not up to the challenge…it will be a good day for photos, or to just hike. Anyone with good hiking boots who dresses warm can hike the region, you don’t need snowshoes.
Click here to see what hiking the region is like.
What would you need to try snowshoeing in the Badlands? Want to rent snowshoes? You can. I can steer you to the showshoe rental guy in Watford City.